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About Us

It is generally accepted that environmental and social change have powerful impacts on public health, but interactions between natural and social systems are complex and fluid. Understanding and addressing them requires many forms of knowledge and the engagement of multiple government and societal actors. In China, the situation is complicated by the sheer pace of change and by the fact that different regions and populations face very different kinds of problems as the result of their diverse environmental conditions and development pathways, as well as varying levels of governance capacity.

Since 2008 FORHEAD has sought to strengthen the knowledge base for responding to environment and health problems in China and promote the more effective uptake of existing knowledge. It has fostered the development of a cohort of professionals able to work effectively on these issues from a perspective that is holistic and problem-oriented rather than narrowly discipline-based or technical. Our focus is on environment and health challenges associated with rapid industrialization, the intensification of agriculture and urbanization.

FORHEAD's work has evolved through several stages from field mapping, through building of the network and development of research sites through small grants and the summer institute to a focus on specific issues through working groups. In this current phase of our work, we are focusing on distilling and disseminating our findings and experience through additional publications and curriculum materials. We will also be exploring the implications of China's experience for other countries, particularly in the context of China's growing international engagement.

We have sponsored integrated research in more than 30 local sites in which the dynamic interactions between development strategies and environment and health impacts can be monitored and understood and different approaches to addressing them explored. And we have produced a set of publications and curriculum materials that can be used by a wide range of different institutions.

For more information, see our brochure.